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A Parent’s Guide to GCSEs

Knowing how to support your child through the stress of their GCSE exams can be daunting. We all want our children to do well and help them in anyway we can, however many parents in the UK have no idea where to start when it comes to helping their child with GCSE revision.

We have shared some of our top tips in this guide to help you provide the most effective support for your child during their GCSEs.

Staying in the Loop

It is important that you stay informed with any school updates, as different schools use different exam boards, have different homework schedules and different ways they support their students with revision. The best ways to stay in the loop include following the school’s social media accounts, regularly checking emails, or contacting the school directly for information.

Usually, schools will hold additional after-school revision sessions on the run up to exams. Knowing when these are on and making sure your child is attending them is important.

Revision

It is crucial that your child is revising for their GCSE exams. Having a well thought out plan is essential for keeping your child on track. The secret to good grades lies in the planning. As a parent, you can work with your child to develop a revision plan that fits both of your schedules.

Remember to include short breaks within the revision plan; studying is more effective in shorter bursts, as it allows the brain to switch off for a short period of time, refocus and assimilate information. We would recommend a 5-to-10-minute break at the least once an hour.

Including days off from time to time in the revision plan is important as they to ensure your child isn’t overworking and are still able to the things they enjoy, which can reduce stress.

Encouraging Good Study Skills

To encourage your child is studying effectively, there are a few simple techniques you can use. For example, staying on top of homework, and doing it to a high level is a good study skill that your child should be practising. Whilst homework can seem like a chore at times, it has been designed to support their in-class learning. If your child is struggling with their homework, then you should speak to their teacher and explain the situation; this can help to identify any difficulties your child is having with their GCSE studies and overcome them.

In addition, encouraging better study skills can be achieved by creating a ‘study space’ for your child within your home. This should be an area of the house that is quiet and distraction free, so they can focus on their revision with no interruptions. Making sure your child has the equipment they need at their ‘study space’, such as stationary, notebooks and flash cards, can help them organise their work.

Tips for Exam Days

On the days your child has GCSE exams, there are a few tricks you could use to make sure their day runs smoothly is as stress-free as possible. These tips include:

  • Making sure they get a good night’s sleep.
  • Get your them to eat a substantial breakfast before they leave. Food is brain fuel.
  • Making the house a calm environment, this includes avoiding any arguments, as arguments can cause a further build-up of stress.
  • Ensure they get to their exam with plenty of time to spare.
  • If they are feeling up to it, you can do a quick-fire question game with flash cards.

Tutor Support

When your child isn’t performing as well as they should be, it can often be worrying for parents. However, seeking additional support for their studies is an easy way to overcome this worry. There are a few options, with the main ones being getting support from a personal tutor in your local area, or by using online tutor resources.

GCSEPod is a popular online GCSE learning resource for parents and children that is used by schools, teachers, parents, and students across the UK. GCSEPod has been designed to engage children in their GCSE learning and revision by using a combination of interactive learning tools, pods (short videos), quizzes and assessments.

Whilst GCSEPod requires a subscription to access all learning materials, they have a range of free resources for children to use. They also have free resources that are specifically for parents, helping them understand how to support their children during the stress of GCSEs, see here.

Sarah

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